Residents of Dadar’s Hindu Colony don’t feel safe walking in their colony premises. On Monday, several branches of trees inside the private premises fell, but no one was injured. Residents are worried that next time round they may not be as lucky, especially if a desi badami tree perched precariously next to the water tank falls.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that it cannot be held responsible for damages caused by tree collapses in private properties, but residents claim it is being lax by not granting tree-pruning permissions on time. “We fear that the entire tree will come down if there are strong winds. We submitted an application to the ward office two months ago, but the officials have not yet granted us permission,” said Radha Sajnani, resident of Hindu Colony.
Similarly, on St Martin’s Road in Bandra, branches of trees planted inside a private colony broke and fell into a compound wall on Monday.
“Both residents and civic officials need to take responsibility,” said activist Mani Patel. “The managing body of private societies should write to the BMC months before the onset of monsoon, and the BMC should not waste time in granting permission.”
Shubha Raul, member of the BMC’s Tree Authority, said ward officials tend to become negligent. “Even in the case of trees that look dangerous, junior tree officers tend to delay permissions,” said Raul.
Civic officials, in turn, blame residents for waking up too late. “People wait for heavy showers to write to us. We can grant permission only after surveying the spot,” said Kamlashankar Yadav, superintendent of gardens, BMC. “The ultimate responsibility lies with the residents.”